The Difference Between Your “Equality” and My “Oppression”

Oppression: Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control; the state of being subject to unjust treatment or  control; mental pressure or distress

This is and isn’t something or anything about economics. Because, we are all a part of the economy and contribute to it, and no one single group be it men or women, black or white, LGBT, whatever should be constricted by another group.

Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook from one of my female college classmates, and as I’ve gotten older and more things have happened to me, my family, and my friends, I can’t help but react strongly to the post. Here it is:

screenshot-45

I want you to look at the definition at the top again, it’s a word for word definition from Bing, you can fact check it if you like.

I am not arguing that myself and other women in my country don’t get to do the things listed, I am not saying that I am controlled by men, or treated cruelly. But I do think that women are more prone to getting unjust treatment, or to refer to the third part of the definition, have mental pressure or distress from a culture and society that is more accustomed to a male centered world. Even now, writing this in my liberal university’s library I wanted to write quick enough to hide the title of my post, it would be awkward to be called a feminist – though I think that’s what I’m leaning towards. That’s a topic for a future date: feminism. Why is it like a diseased word to some people? Why shouldn’t I be a feminist if I’m a female? I’m human, so obviously it’s okay for me to support human rights. I have brothers and a boyfriend, and if they were mistreated, I wouldn’t mind standing up for their rights either. Yet to say feminism, or I’m a feminist is like a disease, some people will see you as tainted, like a rotten apple (bad joke).

So I want to address each of the things that make me equal to men and not oppressed according to this Men’s Rights Initiative; Ensuring the dignity of men group.

Do I get to vote? Yes. If I voted for Hillary Clinton would some people think I voted for her because she’s a woman? Probably. Is my vote equal to a man’s? Yes. Am I assumed to be a liberal democrat because I’m a woman? According to Bing where I typed in, “why do women vote liberal” and “why do women vote conservative” the search with the most accurate results was the liberal one. The conservative search had more results but was not as accurate as it came up with more BBC and UK results and for this post I’m looking for US results, even when I put US, it still came up with British results. As a woman, it’s assumed I’ll vote for another woman and that I’m more prone to be liberal.

Do I drive? Yes. When was the last time you heard women can’t parallel park? Did you say it? If I go to the car lot, am I told I’ll get a better deal if I have a man with me?

Do I wear what I want? Yes. Are there girls in high school who can’t wear anything more revealing than a polo shirt? Yes, because it will distract the boys. If I wear too much makeup am I vain? I’ve thought the same thing about a classmate with an 8am class. If I prefer jeans to combat boots, and short hair to messy tendrils will some people call me butch, or think I’m a man? Yes, from personal experience I know that short hair is for men and long hair is for women.

Do I go to school? Yes, and there are lots of opportunities for women to do so. Was there a sense that because boys are more ‘logical’ that they are better at math and science? Yes, and it wasn’t until college that I started liking math and finally aced it.

Can I divorce my husband? Yes, and I know that in some divorces men get a really unfair deal. If I get a divorce will people think I’m a bad mother or that now I’m after married women’s husbands now? Yes, I’ve seen it and I’ve heard it from people talking about a single mom in that way, the way that as a kid you’re being told by somebody who has no business butting in that a ‘true’ family has a mom and dad.

Can I own property? Yes. Have I also been told through my life that women are not good at regular car maintenance, heavy duty chores, heavy machinery? Yes, besides those all being things that women would have to do to take care of a car or a house if they live by themselves.

Can I go out alone? Yes. If I wear something that is too distracting for men, will I be blamed if something happens to me? I won’t get the full blame, but it will be partially my fault. “You shouldn’t go out at night dressed like that.”

Can I be uncircumcised? Yes, and this is a difficult topic to face because men and women should have equal control over their own bodies, whether it’s done for religious purposes or not. But if I get pregnant and have a ‘natural’ birth, will doctors cut my skin to allow the baby to come out? Yes, and even if it’s done for medical, or religious, or cultural purposes this is something both men and women may have to go through in some form or another. We are so busy saying, “Respect me! Respect me!” we forget to be considerate to both sexes hard ships.

Can I have a career? Yes. Can I have a family, take time for the family, be considered a good wife and mother, be a successful woman, and be paid the same because I took the time to have a family? Can I use my multiple opportunities for education to land a job comparable to my counterpart? Not really, because even if it’s a few cents, if come out of college in the next few years with the exact same degree as my male counterpart, the odds are that he’ll make more than me. Because a company doesn’t want to spend money on a woman that may have to take time for maternity leave or sick children. It’s the bottom dollar. Can a woman with a bachelors in finance, an MBA, and a masters certificate in accounting find a job with comparable wage in the same time frame as a man? Or does the man need the job more because his ‘normal’ family needs it more than the family with the single mom? I can tell you that is my mom, an educated, inspiring, hard working woman and yet she’s still trying to find a good job to support me, going through school, trying to have a better life.

Can I choose who to marry? Yes. Should my future husband have to ask for my father’s permission for my hand in marriage? It’s polite, but I’d rather them say that they’ll love me, and promise my parents to support me like I support him, and say that he’ll make me laugh everyday, even if it’s something stupid that he’ll do his best everyday to love me with all of his heart. I want my parents to say, that as long as he loves me that they will trust him, and that it doesn’t matter if he’s this religion or that religion, or black, white, Asian,  or some freaking alien that as long as he’s true to me that they will support our getting married.

Finally, can I get help if abused? Yes. Will everyone recognize that just like oppression, abuse is not always physical? That if I’m told, you’re stupid, you’re slow, you can’t do this like I can that it’s the same as, you can’t drive as good as me, you can’t make deals like me, you’re emotional, you’re fragile, you’re too dramatic, all those are forms of mental abuse.

As women, we have access to all the things that make us “equal” to men, but our minds are oppressed because it is distressing to hear, deal with, and juggle not only expectations for ourselves, but expectations, personal expectations from people who don’t know us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s